The Beautiful South, “A Little Time” (1990)
From the album Choke (GO! Discs)
Written by – Paul Heaton, David Rotheray
“A Little Time” is one of the most sarcastic and cynical songs exploring the dynamics of a relationship coming to an end. Perhaps it was its honesty that led it to be The Beautiful South’s only UK Singles Chart number one hit and, arguably, their most famous song to this day.
Much can be said about the fine, light arrangement that embellishes the song and provides the perfect backdrop for Dave Hemingway and Briana Corrigan’s interpretation of the lyrics. They are like the lead bickering couple of a Séan O’Casey play and indeed, the song’s narrative has all the sophistication of a one-act play (or a mini three-act play, given that the song has three verses). Indeed, if the bitter irony of the song’s ending hits a little too close to home it is because of the lead vocalists’ performance.
As a final note: the video was shot by Nick Brandt, an English photographer known for his thematic penchant for “the disappearing natural world, before much of it is destroyed by mankind.” His post-apocalyptic shots of a domestic setting, presumably the setting of a savage fight, are simply irresistible.
“Promises, promises turn to dust / Wedding bells just turn to rust / Trust into mistrust.”